As you may already know, Alicante is a historic Mediterranean city on Spain’s Costa Blanca. It gained prosperity during the 13th century and became an important port for Mediterranean goods such as olives, wine and oranges. In the 20th century, Alicante boomed as a tourist haven; people came for its year-round sun, warm sea waters and fresh seafood. This article aims to give you a picture of both what life here is like and how to live in Alicante.
Because of its rich history, it maintains a strong Moorish influence in its architecture and cuisine. After strolling up the Santa Bárbara castle find yourself among the winding streets enjoying some traditional Arabic desserts such as almojabanes. Of course, this is after spending a day sitting on the splendid beach.
How to get around
You will find high-quality public transport almost everywhere in Spain, particularly in the cities. Alicante is no exception. It is not a huge city, but you can get around town on the electric tram system which covers most parts. The central train station takes you directly to Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona and other cities. Line C6 of the bus service connects the city to the airport. For drivers, traffic in the streets of Alicante, like most cities, tends to get pretty heavy. However, once you get through that the roads connecting you to nearby towns and beaches are quick and smooth.
What to do when you live in Alicante
Alicante is a shopper’s paradise! You can expect many of the same high street options that you will be used to from other European cities. Also, you can find boutiques and family-owned shops providing their own unique Alicante flavour.
The centre of the city is very amenable for walking around, especially along the famous Explanada de España. This marble-tiled promenade running along the seafront is a traditional meeting place for locals and regular informal venue for a whole variety of musicians.
Alicante itself is a port city, and you can enjoy restaurants and a lovely walk around the marina. However, if you are craving the beach then you will find plenty of sand at Playa del Postiguet. There are also many beaches to be found only a short hop away. Try La Granadella and Santa Pola for relaxing in the sun. If you are after something a bit more family-friendly, then Albir near Benidorm is perfect.
If you are thinking about relocating your whole family to live in Alicante, then here you will find some of the best international schools in Spain. Due to the high population of British nationals living here, you will find many of these schools follow a British style curriculum. King’s College and The European School are among the best. If you do not want to go down the private route, then there are many state options available to you. However, do be aware that the core curriculum will be in Spanish.
Healthcare is of a very high standard in the country as a whole. Residents who live and work in the country are eligible to use the state service for free. This is after registering for a social security number. Non-residents with EHIC cards are eligible for some limited state healthcare service. However, please be aware that there are two kinds of healthcare available to EU residents.
- Holders of EHIC cards are only eligible to receive temporary healthcare with no continuous care such as MRI scans and testing. They may only be able to see a GP and will not be able to have major surgery.
- If you want to live in Alicante and have the security of better healthcare you will need to apply for the Spanish health card. If you receive a pension or work in the country, either as self-employed or otherwise, then you may fit the criteria for health card application. This is for those with a residency card. If you do not fit these criteria, then you will need to pay for private healthcare for at least a year. You may then be eligible for a monthly payment programme available at the local level.
We covered the differences in healthcare for retirees in Spain in this article. It talks about the state-run insurance and how it affects residents after 2021.
Where should you live?
Alicante and its surrounding areas offer a great many options for living. You can purchase or rent a flat in the city or look for a larger house in the suburbs or nearby towns. Whatever route you choose, we are here to help you every step of the way. Property in Spain is generally more economical than other European countries and Alicante enjoys lower than average national house prices. This makes renting more affordable or, if you are buying, then your money can go further.
A friendly welcome
Once you have made the choice to live in Alicante you will be greeted with a lot of familiar things. Because it is such an international city, with residents from all over, most places – shops and restaurants – cater to foreigners. It is an enormously friendly city. You will find people willing to help you get to know the place everywhere. However, one thing you need to be sure of is doing a little research before arriving; this is where a good solicitor comes in.